Saudi Arabia, the world’s biggest crude exporter, cut its oil shipments in April to the lowest level in six months as overseas refineries bought less due to seasonal maintenance and the kingdom burned more crude at home to power air-conditioners, Financial Tribune informed. According to the data released by the Joint Organizations Data Initiative in Riyadh, crude shipments dropped to 7.44 mb/d from 7.54mb/d in March and to the lowest since October 2015, when the country transferred 7.36mb/d, according to Bloomberg.
However, Saudi Arabia is planning to boost crude production to 10.5mb/d in the next few months as higher summer temperatures boost demand for electricity needed to cool homes and offices. The country’s output was 10.26mb/d in April after reaching a record 10.56mb/d in June 2015.
In order to offset the decline and the drop in inventories, which also resulted from an increase in Saudi sales in the spot market, Saudi Aramco may be changing its strategy in Asia to boost its market share by selling more spot cargoes to small, independent refiners in China, London-based Independent Analyst, Mohamed Ramady, said.
As oil companies typically shut refineries for maintenance in April and May in preparation for increased summer demand, other oil exporting countries have also seen a drop in their crude shipments. Exports declined for Qatar, whose shipments slid to the lowest since at least 2002, as well as for fellow OPEC members, Iraq and Kuwait, according to Gulf Times.